Featuring A Breath of Fresh, Pulling Oil: Thieves Blend
Have you been reaching for mouthwash or breath-freshening chewing gum more often lately? Are your gums tender when you brush your teeth – perhaps they bleed a little when you occasionally remember to floss them? If so, you may have gingivitis, a common and mild form of gum disease that left untreated can eventually lead to tooth loss. But with a few changes in habit and the adoption of some economical herbal remedies, you could be able to see a major difference in your periodontal health within a matter of weeks!
What Exactly is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, when bacteria normally found in your mouth interact with sugars and starches from your meals causing plaque, a sticky film that builds up on your teeth and must be removed by manually brushing and flossing. If you don’t brush or floss often enough, the plague hardens or calcifies along your gum line, turning into tartar, which collects even more bacteria, irritates the gums, and can no longer be removed by your toothbrush or flossing techniques alone, thus must be removed by a professional dental hygienist.
Healthy gums are firm, pale pink in color, and fit tightly around each tooth. Whereas symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Tender, swollen, or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss them
- Halitosis (a.k.a bad breath)
- Receding gums
Now you can see why good oral hygiene – such as brushing and flossing regularly, is so important to preventing gingivitis and keeping plaque at bay. While there are some things you can do to prevent gingivitis, factors like genetics, certain medications, and pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can exacerbate gum disease, over which you may have little control. That’s where the following home remedies come in. Regardless of whether you simply need to improve your oral hygiene habits by stepping up your flossing technique – or you’re trying to balance the side effects of your blood pressure medication, there is something below for everyone! So, get ready to improve your gum health!
Aloe Vera Juice Rinse
Famous for easing sunburns, using the gel-like substance found in the leaves of this sun-loving succulent as a juice rinse can also help your gums because aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. A study in 2016 found that aloe vera was as effective as chlorhexidine, a common antiseptic mouthwash, at significantly reducing gum disease symptoms. Just be sure to use 100% pure aloe vera juice – it is safe to use in this concentration as long as you don’t swallow it. It can actually be great for digestion but consult with a doctor before ingesting it as it is not safe for diabetics or those with insulin conditions.
Try this: Fill a small cup with 1 fluid ounce of aloe juice and rinse morning and night with it after brushing.
Tea Tree and Neem
Made from the leaves of the Paperbark Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), Tea Tree Oil was first discovered in the 1920s by Dr. Penfold who found it to be 12 times more potent than the current antiseptics of that time. It has antifungal and antimicrobial compounds that inhibit the adhesion of bacteria that are related to tooth decay and gingivitis. Likewise, Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a plant from India and South Asia that has been used for thousands of years as a tool for maintaining healthy periodontium, as it has astringent, antiseptic, and anti-ulcer properties. More recently, a study in 2011 found it to be comparable to chlorhexidine in addressing plaque-induced gingivitis.
Try this: Replace your toothpaste and floss with tea tree and neem-laced products that will deliver even better results!
Clove Essential Oil
Clove has long been historically used in relation to periodontium health – as far back as 200 AD China, for example, when the emperor of the Han Dynasty required courtiers to chew cloves when they addressed him in order to keep their breath smelling fresh. You are probably familiar with the scent of cloves, which may harken memories of winter holidays, where the spice is often mixed with cardamon, cinnamon, allspice, and other similar flavors in beverages like eggnog or desserts such as pumpkin pie. Clove’s strong flavor and pungent aroma is due to eugenol, a compound that has natural anesthetic properties which in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine made it a common ingredient used to treat toothache. Much like the aforementioned home remedies, clove oil also has strong antibacterial properties, and studies show that eugenol inhibits plaque formation, reducing the growth of periodontopathic bacteria.
Try this: Add 4 drops of clove essential oil in 8 ounces glass of lukewarm water and rinse at least twice a day for effective results. But DO NOT swallow this mix as clove oil should not be ingested!
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic-based practice in which a small amount of oil, usually Sunflower or Sesame, is swished around in the mouth for between 10 to 20 minutes before being spat out. Though studies done on these oils were not very promising, oil pulling with coconut oil has produced better results amongst research participants. Coconut oil is unusual because unlike most dietary oils (such as the sunflower and sesame mentioned earlier) which consist of long-chain fatty acids, coconut is made up of mostly medium-chain fatty acids, 50% of which is lauric acid, an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compound that makes it so effective. It can be tricky at first to swish for almost 20 minutes and it may feel a bit time consuming – consider doing it while in the shower or washing dishes. As the oil is swished around between your teeth, it collects bacteria, so don’t swallow it when you are done but try not to spit it out in a drain where, over time, you could clog your pipes – head for a trash can when you’re done instead of your sink!
Try this: Once a day, place one to two droppers of A Breath of Fresh, Pulling Oil: Thieves Blend in your mouth, which incorporates the famous medieval thieves herbal blend, in this case, Wintergreen, Spearmint, and Thyme essential oils, to increase the antimicrobial aspect of oil pulling. Swish for between 10 to 20 minutes before spitting the remains into a trash receptacle. Rinse again with warm water and brush your teeth as usual.
Additional Tips to Better Oral Health
Here are 6 additional ways you can improve your gum health:
- Brush your teeth twice a day (when you wake up and before bed) for at least 2 minutes.
- Floss every day to remove bacteria between your teeth.
- Manage diabetes if you have it.
- Cease to smoke or use other tobacco products.
- Limit sugary foods and alcoholic drinks.
- See a dentist at least once a year for checkups.
Now that you have these tips and a handful of home remedies to use, be prepared to start smiling a whole lot more often! Your gums will thank you!